It’s been roughly 3 years since we last got our taster of the Dead Rising franchise with the third installment, but this holiday the franchise is back, and with no one other than Frank West returning as the face of the franchise ten years after his original appearance. During Gamescom, Microsoft gave us the opportunity to play asection of the game, along with an in-depth presentation as the devs behind the game gave us a detailed look at what Dead Rising 4 is all about.
DR4 in every sense embraces the more hilarious and over-the-top elements of the franchise, doubling down on ridiculous weapon combos and situation. With the return of Frank West, the game isn’t a retread of the original, but rather a sequel that kind of tries to reimagine what the franchise is all about, and whilst the heart of Dead Rising is present, it’s easy to see at first glance that unlike sections of third game, Dead Rising 4 has no identity crisis when it comes to what it wants to be, and that’s to be as ridiculous as possible.
But if there’s one thing you don’t have to worry about, it’s time, because you’ll have all the time in the world in Dead Rising 4 as the newest installment foregoes the inclusion of the classic timer, which has been left out in favour of giving players the time to experience more of the side-content and to cause general mayhem, which so far seems like one of the biggest priorities looking at the gameplay design itself. In a lot of ways, Dead Rising 4 seems a lot less about survival and a lot more about the fun factor, rather than the original survival factor of the franchise, which is a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.
This over-the-top and quite frankly ‘batshit insane’ adventure gives us quite a few of toys to play with, and even though we only got to play with a few pieces of Frank’s arsenal, we got a good feel of what it feels like to survive in Dead Rising 4. At no point during the demo did I feel overwhelmed by the number of enemies on screens, though this had a lot to do with the fact that I truly felt overpowered, though arguably for demo purposes this might have been the right call to make, and all things aside, being overpowered in DR4 is as satisfying as you would think it would be. Whether it’s as simple as knocking a few zombie heads with a baseball bat or if you’re pounding on hordes with your exo-suit, the game does its best to feel like a playground for the player in which they can let everything loose.
One of the biggest gameplay features is one of the perks that comes with Frank’s return, which is the return of his camera as we use his photography skills to investigate areas, take snapshots of our adventures and of course: selfies, or ‘stealthies’ as we like to call them, which has Frank sneak up on enemies and take them out for a surprise selfie session. Along with this, your camera will have several filters available, which also aid your investigations throughout the game.
But of course I can talk new mechanics and features all I want, but what was it like to experience the game first-hand? I had several issues with Dead Rising 3 as it launched, which initially put doubts into my head when it came to the fourth installment, but our hands-on session took care of some of my concerns, though the sheer fact that the survival element has been dampened by the inclusion of regenerating health and the lack of the timer, though the latter does kind of have its perks when it comes to exploration and secondary content, though the urgency of the situation and having to plan your actions is certainly an aspect that will be missed.
Whilst I have my doubts about the survival aspect of Dead Rising 4, it’s hard to deny that I got a lot of joy out of the limited time I had with the game. Some players may be divisive when it comes to what the fourth installment is at its core, but so far, at its worst, Dead Rising 4 is a ridiculously fun time.